The world's coolest hybrids go head to head.
Ferrari has finally unveiled its latest supercar, and it's called the 296 GTB. It's the first-ever V6 hybrid road car from Ferrari and looks absolutely gorgeous, but it's not the only car in this segment. McLaren revealed its Artura earlier this year, and it too is powered by a V6 hybrid power plant. However, while these may be mavericks of the super sports car world, just because they're different from most other similarly-sized supercars doesn't mean that they the same supermodel in different dresses. Let's dive into the details, but before we do, keep in mind that one of these cars costs $100,000 more than the other.
Although McLaren's designs have, for the most part, gotten more attractive over the years since its reemergence on the car scene, there's no doubt that the average McLaren is ugly, and not just when compared to a Ferrari. If you don't find the Artura ugly (it's actually one of Woking's better designs), you'd have to agree that it looks very much like a number of McLarens that preceded it. However, Ferrari has pulled a similar move with the 296 GTB, a car that clearly resembles the SF90 Stradale and the F8 Tributo. Nevertheless, with a vertical rear window, unique "jewel-like taillights", and even Formula One-derived aero aids, the entire package is something we could look at for hours. However, that visor-like glasshouse keeps bringing to mind the Ford GT, especially when viewed from the rear quarter angle.
Ferrari isn't known for divulging loads of details on anything that isn't to do with performance, so even in a 17-minute-long reveal video on YouTube, all we are told is that there is "metal and carbon fiber" in the cabin and redesigned seats with carbon shells. Nevertheless, we can see that the passenger gets their own display and that the entire driver cluster is digital toom following on from the new digital experience unveiled in the Roma. Disappointingly, while the teaser video showed that famous red engine start button, the real thing is a touch-capacitive panel. Likewise, the gated shift pattern houses buttons for gear selection rather than an actual shifter.
McLaren is a little more forthcoming with the details. The Artura boasts an eight-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 10-way power-adjustable seats with heating as standard, and its own digital driver display. Lightweight single-shell seats can be optioned here too, but while we like the fact that actual switches are more common in here, past McLarens have had questionable build quality at best. Thus, we'll reserve a verdict on the cabins for when we've tried both, although the Mac may take longer to arrive.
There are lots of big numbers here. The Artura features a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that produces 577 horsepower and 431 lb-ft of torque on its own. Factor in the 94-hp electric motor and the combined output is 671 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque, all of which goes to the rear wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, just as it does in the Ferrari. 0-62 mph takes three seconds flat, while 124 mph comes up in 8.3 seconds. But none of that quite rivals what you get in the Fezza.
Matching the Mac's capacity and configuration, the 296 GTB's record-breaking (221 hp per liter) V6 produces 653 horses on its own. Add the electric motor with its 164 horses and 232 lb-ft and you've got a whopping 818 hp and 546 lb-ft of twist at your disposal. More important than the numbers is that Ferrari has worked exceptionally hard to make this engine sound good, and boy, does it. Still, you want to know the figures, so here goes: 0-62? 2.9 seconds. 0-124 mph? Just 7.3. Both cars have the same top speed of 205.
Yes, we know that practicality isn't that big a deal, but it's worth mentioning that the Artura is said to comfortably fit six-footers. The 296 GTB, on the other hand, has had its wheelbase shortened by two inches compared to the F8 Tributo, but we'll have to wait to find out what impact that has had on interior space.
Since both of these are plug-in hybrids, which is best in that regard? Well, the Ferrari offers 15.5 miles of electric-only range, some of which you can use at up to 84 mph. The Mac will only attain 82 mph on electrons, but it will go further by 3.5 miles. This is, in part, down to the fact that the Artura has a dry weight of 3,075 pounds while the Fezza's is 3,241.
Have you guessed which of these new-age supercars is more expensive? Yup, it's the Ferrari. While the Artura comes in at an Audi R8-rivaling $225,000, the 296 GTB is almost $100k dearer. In base spec (it gets worse still), the Ferrari has a starting price of $321,400. Opt for the available Assetto Fiorano package that adds more carbon fiber for less weight, plus a new livery and sticky tires, and your budget will have to be at least $360,900 strong. So which is better? Well, the more powerful Ferrari is naturally quicker, but through the corners, the lighter Artura may be able to claw back. Both have a usable electric range, and both seem to have been engineered to be fun from behind the wheel, so if you prefer one over the other, we won't judge you.
While many thought the 296 GTB would be a direct rival to the Artura, Ferrari seems to have set its sights higher. We predict the McLaren will punch above its weight when it arrives, but at this early stage, it would appear Ferrari wins the numbers game.